Mindful eating is about being fully present during meals and snacks. The practice of mindful eating is being conscious of what you are eating, why you’re eating, and how you’re eating. This includes using all your senses to explore your food’s sight, smell, taste, and texture. Practicing mindful eating will also help us get in tune with our body’s cues for hunger and satiety. Here are 8 simple tricks to practice mindful eating that will help you feel more satisfied while automatically eating less.
1. A feeling of gratitude
I make it a point to practice gratitude as often as I possibly can remember. Sometimes this comes easy and sometimes I am just too much on autopilot. However, when I do think remember to feel grateful my entire day transforms. If you are open to it, please indulge me in the following practice: Next time you have something to eat, think of how grateful you are for your food and sprinkle your gratitude over your meal. I swear I can taste the difference. Can you?
2. Eliminate Distractions
One of the best ways to practice mindful eating is remove distractions such as your TV, phone, or computer. This can be so tough for those of us accustomed to multitasking. While mindful eating isn’t required for intuitive eating, it is extremely helpful for connecting with our cues for hunger, fullness, satisfaction, and emotions that drive cravings.
3. Taste, smell and feel your food
With the first few bites make a point of smelling, tasting, and feeling the texture of what you eat. Is it crunchy, flavourful, soft, or sweet? Assess each different flavour and take note of how they feel in your mouth, tongue, and stomach.
4. Assess your hunger cues. Before, midway through and after your meal
To get re-acquainted with our body’s inherent hunger cues, check-in before every meal how hungry you are on a scale of 10. Are you feeling slightly hungry, or are you hungry to the point of being irritated? Then, midway through, check-in again? How does your stomach feel? Does your food still taste good with every bite you take or has your autopilot taken over?
5. Slow down
For me, this is probably the hardest part of eating mindfully. Do you know the feeling of eating like you are on the run? Sometimes it feels like you have to make it through the meal to get to the next part of your life? Don’t forget, your food is a big part of your life and you are meant to enjoy your food. Food is medicine and nourishment. Try to think about each bite and savour the different flavours while you chew. Some recommend chewing every bite five times. That is fine, but if it feels arbitrary to you, don’t stress over it. Just set an intention for every meal to slow down and savour your meal as best as you can. No point in creating more stress about not stressing out about food.
6. Describe your meal to someone, or write it down in a journal – in depth
When you describe your meal after you have finished it, you re-live the experience and commit to memory what you ate and how it made you feel. If you are eating as a family, this can become a fun tradition at the table. If you are eating alone, why don’t you write it in a food journal? Food journals are also handy when you are trying to make changes to your diet and want to become more mindful, pun intended, of what and how much you are eating.
7. Take a note of your emotions
Are you stressed, happy, sad, or anxious? How does this change your meal? Your emotions are a key factor in our relationship with food.
8. How did the food you just ate make you feel in your body?
Assess again and take note of how your body feels after you have finished your food. Are you satisfied? Eaten too much?
Here are a few more questions you can ask yourself that will help you get more in touch with your body’s cues.
- How is your energy level?
- How does your stomach feel?
- Do you feel satisfied?
- Do you feel sick or uneasy at all?
- Do you feel sluggish?
- Do you feel more focused?
While mindless eating isn’t inherently “bad” as diet culture would have you believe, you do miss out on the joy of food and your body’s cues compared to when you practice eating mindfully. Will you try out any of these mindful eating tips for your next meals? Please let us know how it went or what your ways are of savouring your meals.
See you on the next post?